Juneteenth is an unofficial holiday that commemorates the ending of slavery across America.
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas to announce the ending of the Civil War and the subsequent freedom of all black people. This was two years after Abraham Lincoln gave the Emancipation Proclamation.
Ever since June 19, 1865, this holiday has been celebrated around the world annually. It is a time to bring people together. It is a time to pray. It is a time for the descendants of those enslaved to return back to Galveston, Texas, where General Gordon Granger first announced the amazing news of freedom.
Juneteenth, the combination of June and nineteenth, is not recognized as a national holiday, even though millions of people across the country celebrate this holiday. On par with the celebration of the day freedom was finally announced, in Texas, specifically in Galveston, Juneteenth is recognized as a symbolic holiday, with celebrations happening city wide.
I had not heard about this holiday until two days ago when I read it on the news and when my father’s coworker mentioned it to him. My teacher had neglected to mention this to us, the future generation of a white, male America. But with the murder of George Floyd and subsequent awareness and support outpouring to the black community all around the world, there is a renewed interest in this unofficial holiday.
Amidst the people’s outcry for change in the police force and action against racial discrimination, Juneteenth comes at a perfect time to demonstrate the significant progress America has made since the 1800s and is still continuing to make, even under a white male president. The people of America have not stopped crying for change: through their protests, through the outlawing of chokeholds by police officers in Minneapolis, through a bill in the Congress targeting racial misconduct by police officers, through many companies such as Twitter supporting Juneteenth and recognizing it as a holiday for which its employees have the day off.
Juneteenth comes at a perfect time to remind the American citizens that even though we have progressed much from the dark ages, we still have a long way to go to establish full equality.
Juneteenth is a time of celebration. A sort of hallmark of the final emancipation of slaves, specifically originating in Galveston, Texas.
But Juneteenth is also a time of remembrance and reflection – remembering the vast brutality and violence against blacks, and reflecting upon our current situation with the murder of George Floyd and countless other blacks by the use of police brutality.
It is only right to make Juneteenth a national holiday. That is the only way all of America will be forced to come to terms with the vast inequality that is happening everyday. Even though Juneteenth has only been under renewed interest due to the George Floyd murder, it is essential to make sure America, no matter what condition she is in, will remember that full equality is a long way to go, and that Juneteenth was one of the first steps in the right direction.
Petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday here.
Lots of love,